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SYFY WIRE Awards Season

The Mandalorian, The Boys, Soul, & Palm Springs sizzle with top honors at inaugural Critics Choice Super Awards

By Benjamin Bullard
Soul Pixar

This year’s inaugural Critics Choice Super Awards lavished a galaxy of love on sci-fi and fantasy fans on Sunday, doling out best-of honors to The Mandalorian, The Boys, Soul, and Palm Springs (to name but a few) — all while handing over even more hardware to the actors who brought this year’s genre greats to life.

To no one’s surprise, the Critics Choice Association's socially-distanced ceremony said “I have spoken” to Disney+’s The Mandalorian, setting Din Jarin and lil’ green Grogu up with the Beskar-precious prize as this year’s Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series. Mando beat out a crowded field that also included Starz’ Outlander, HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves, CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, Amazon’s Upload, and FX’s What We Do in the Shadows.

Star Trek didn’t depart the fan-friendly ceremony empty-handed, though, as Sir Patrick Stewart got the nod for Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series for his revival of iconic Starfleet Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard. What We Do in the Shadows’ Natasia Demetriou brought the hardware home for FX in the Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series category.

Turning to the movie side of things, this year may have served up a comparatively small batch of big-name nominees, but the big names are the ones that won. Hulu’s twisted time-warping sci-fi comedy in the California desert raised the temperature Sunday, as Palm Springs took home a trifecta of top honors for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie, as well as Best Actor and Best Actress in the same category.

Palm Springs beat out Love and Monsters, Possessor, Synchronic, and the Amazon original The Vast of Night in the film category, while star Andy Samberg also picked up top honors by earning the award for Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie. His portrayal of the dimensionally-confused love interest Nyles edged out a field that also included Palm Springs costar J.K. Simmons, as well as Anthony Mackie (Synchronic), Christopher Abbott (Possessor), and Jake Horowitz (The Vast of Night).

Cristin Milioti also snagged Palm Springs the Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie award for her starring role as sister-of-the-bride Sarah Wilder opposite Samberg. Milioti beat out a field that also featured nominees Katherine Langford (Spontaneous), Sierra McCormick (The Vast of Night), and Andrea Riseborough (Possessor).

Not content to leave The Mandalorian alone in the Disney spotlight, Pixar’s Soul took home the top honor for Best Animated Movie. The jazz-infused Disney+ tale of second chances led a nominee list that also included Over the MoonA Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, and The Willoughbys. Apple’s Wolfwalkers also received a nomination, as did Disney’s Onward. Soul also landed Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey top honors in the Best Voice Actor / Actress in an Animated Movie categories, making Soul and Palm Springs the biggest winners of the evening, at least on the film side, with three awards apiece.

Horror and superheroes each got awards categories all to themselves, with Netflix’s The Old Guard winning for Best Superhero Movie, and The Invisible Man winning out in the Best Horror Movie category. Star Elizabeth Moss picked up the Best Actress in a Horror Movie prize for her performance as Cecilia Kass in The Invisible Man, while Vince Vaughn got the best horror actor movie win for his high-energy comedic turn in Blumhouse’s Freaky.

Back on the superhero side, best actor and actress honors went to a pair of Birds of Prey powerhouses, with Ewan McGregor and Margot Robbie winning out for their roles as Roman Sionis (aka Black Mask) and Harley Quinn, respectively. Sonic the Hedgehog, meanwhile, had Jim Carrey to thank for racing past the field to earn Best Villain in a Movie honors.

There were plenty more television kudos to go around besides just The Mandalorian’s best series prize. The Boys cleaned up the mess they made in last year’s Season 2, winning out in 4 categories overall — including Best Superhero Series. Homelander swooped in to redeye the competition, with Antony Starr taking home the win for both Best Actor in a Superhero Series, as well as Best Villain in a Series, for his performance as the malevolent leader of the show’s team of Vaught supes.

To nab the Best Actor prize, Starr had to beat out costar Karl Urban, who was also nominated in the same category for his deliciously gritty role as Billy Butcher. Joining him from The Boys’ cast was Aya Cash, who earned the Best Actress in a Superhero Series for her socially-charged portrayal of Stormfront.

HBO’s Lovecraft Country picked up a pair of horror honors, scaring up an overall win for Best Horror Series. The J.J. Abrams & Jordan Peele-produced terror tour of America’s blighted underbelly also earned Jurnee Smollett the Best Actress in a Horror Series award for her role as Letitia "Leti" Lewis. Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles conjured a win for The CW show’s final season, chasing down the Best Actor in a Horror Series award.

TNT’s Snowpiercer also circled a small-screen prize, with star Daveed Diggs stirring up Best Actor in an Action Series honors for his role as double agent Andre Layton. Natasia Demetriou took a big bite as the winner of the Best Actress in a Horror Series award for her performance as ancient vampire Nadja in What We Do in the Shadows.

Finally, BoJack Horseman gave Netflix some giddyup, winning the Best Animated Series award as well as the Best Voice Actor in an Animated Series prize for Will Arnett, who plays the series’ titular main (or should we say mane?) man. Rounding out the small-screen animation kudos was Kaley Cuoco, who brought HBO Max some well-earned recognition for her sass-mouthed work on Harley Quinn.

Phew! Hosts Kevin Smith and Dani Fernandez could probably hand out an extra award for everyone who made genre fare the cornerstone ingredient for the first-ever Critics Choice Super Awards. For a full listing of all the winners, head on over to the Critics Choice Association landing page, and catch an encore airing of the full show via host network The CW’s mobile app.